Sunday, February 22, 2009

Seagulls and Dog Yak

Meet Chance. He's a good dog -- somewhat insecure and prone to pee on wall corners, but overall a decent specimen of an English Setter. He is the only dog we've ever owned that comes when called (even if we're not holding food or sitting at the dinner table), and will heel, sit, stay, speak and shake. He has a few quirks, but that's how we know he belongs to us. For example, when he howls along with sirens, he can howl two notes at once, in harmony.

Several years ago, right after we moved to Tampa and before Casey was born, Joe and I took Chance to the dog beach out at Honeymoon Island. Unlike a dog park, the dog beach requires you to keep your dog on a leash. Chance loves to swim and he loves birds. So, lucky for him, the dog beach has lots of both. Not so lucky for us, given that leash rule, however. We spent the afternoon taking turns holding on to the leash while Chance dragged us into the water behind him so he could swim and chase birds at the same time. He was so excited when he saw all those seagulls, he threw up his partially digested lunch in the ocean. And when the seagulls caught wind of those dog food bits floating in the waves, they started dive-bombing into the water all around Chance to pick up the food. Chance, who was quickly whipping himself up into the heights of a bird-induced frenzy, started yipping in his highest pitch bark, so everyone on the beach turned to watch Chance dragging me through his vomit and wondered what I was doing to that poor hysterical dog.

We left pretty soon after that, but by the time we got home about 45 minutes later, we noticed that Chance was lethargic and he was wheezing really bad. So we turned around and headed back out to the emergency vet. We hate the emergency vet. If you step inside the emergency vet's doors you can go ahead and kiss $1,000 goodbye, so we try with all our might not to step inside those doors.

But Chance was in bad shape. He was moaning and wheezing and when we got to the vet's parking lot, we could hardly get him out of the back of the SUV. When he finally stood on his own four feet, he kind of wobbled around like he was drunk and looked at us like, "You expect me to walk?" We got about two steps away from the car on our way to the vet's door and Chance stopped, in the middle of the parking lot. Then he started peeing. And he went. And he went. And he went some more. And this continued for five full minutes. No lie. He must have had half of the Gulf of Mexico in that bladder of his. No wonder he was wheezing.

When he was finally finished, he shook himself all over, trotted over to us and started wagging his tail. Joe and I decided pretty quickly that Chance didn't need a visit to the emergency vet, he just needed a good pee. So we put him back in the car and went home.

This is the bird that visits the tree in the creek by our house and lives to torment Chance. The branch she sits on is over the deepest part of the water, so Chance either has to sit on the bank and stare the bird down or swim back and forth underneath the branch until he gets tired enough to go back and sit down on the bank. That bird is a female anhinga -- I have trouble remembering the name of those birds and am continually calling them "Annakins" which Casey, my Star Wars-lovin' son, thinks is hilarious. These are the birds that dive down into the water and skewer fish with their beaks. When they surface, they look like snakes swimming along with just their neck and heads above the surface of the water -- that's why they are also called snakebirds. [Little bit of bird info for you there -- I knew you were feeling a twinge of guilt for spending so much time reading this frivolous drivel so I put some real knowledge in here to make you feel better about yourself.]

[Aren't those great pictures by the way? My friend Heidi over at took them. ]

Chance also doesn't mind getting himself into odd places and staying there.

But enough about Chance. Have I shown you my new office?

I would have liked to have put music to that slide show, but as it turns out, when I was fighting (and losing) with the new printer last week I inadvertently removed whatever sound device software came with my computer. The good news is The Computer Guy came to the house and fixed the printer problem. The bad news is that my computer has to be admitted for outpatient surgery at the Computer Hospital one day next week to get the audio whatsajiggie fixed. So that's my way of breaking it to you that this may be the last post you get for a day or two (or three) -- I know you already had to go without for a whole week (it's not easy setting up a new office, people -- just ask my husband who pretty much did all the work!), but I promise once things settle back down, I'll be back to my regular posting schedule.

So long and thanks for all the fish.


  1. can I be your part-time secretary, coffee lady, girl friday, cleaner, errand girl, etc??????? please?????

  2. you are SO stinkin funny! i love the stories about Chance. I also really like your new office. NICE work Joe! I'm praying for you, friend!


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